Structural Analysis
Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Carolin Birk

Group foto of Gruppenfoto Structural Analysis of Plates and Shells

Modelling techniques for plate and shell structures provide the basis of current and future developments in civil engineering. It is our aim to teach the corresponding foundations of structural mechanics with a particular focus on dynamic phenomena.
Our research is directed at the development of numerical models for investigating mechanical problems related to complex structures. The main research areas are:

  • Non-classical discretisation methods for plate and shell structures
  • Automatic mesh generation and analysis
  • Dynamic soil-structure interaction
  • Numerical simulation of wave-based methods of non-destructive testing
  • Modelling of damage and fracture processes
  • Noise and vibration analysis of thin shell structures

September 2023 Update on teaching in winter semester

In the winter semester 2023/24, the following courses will take place:

Module Contact
Baustatik 1 Prof. Carolin Birk
Baustatik 4 Prof. Carolin Birk
Statik 5 – Baudynamik Prof. Carolin Birk
Structural Dynamics Prof. Carolin Birk
Computer Languages for Engineers Muhammad Iqbal, M.Sc.

The course "Analysis of Structures (AoS)" will not be offered in the winter semester 2023/24.

The face-to-face courses are additionally supported by lecture recordings or other digital material.

The Moodle courses "Baustatik 1", "Baustatik 4", "Statik 5" and "Structural Dynamics" require an enrollment key. Please register for these courses in the LSF no later than 30.09.2023. The access data for the Moodle courses will be sent from LSF. All Moodle courses will start no later than 09.10.2023.

September 2022 9th GACM Colloquium for Computational Mechanics

The Institute of Structural Analysis and the Institute of Mechanics have jointly organized the 9th GACM Colloquium on Computational Mechanics which took place from Wednesday, Sept. 21 to Friday, Sept. 23 at the University of Duisburg-Essen. We were happy to welcome Prof. Swantje Bargmann, Prof. Laura De Lorenzis, Prof. Marc-André Keip, Prof. Otto von Estorff and Dr. Karl Steeger as distinguished plenary speakers. Around 250 participants, mostly young researchers from academia and industry, had the opportunity to present their research works in one of the 31 minisymposiums or during the general poster session. Additionally, four excellent doctoral students from the years 2018-2021 were awarded with the prestigious GACM Best PhD Awards, handed over by the president of GACM.

November 2019 Minisymposium at the World Congress on Computational Mechanics (WCCM) in Paris

The 14th World Congress on Computational Mechanics (WCCM), in cooperation with the congress of the European Community on Computational Methods in Applied Sciences (ECCOMAS), will take place from 19 July to 24 July 2020 in Paris. Among many other topics from the field of applied mathematics and numerics, there will be a minisymposium on “Advances in numerical methods for linear and non-linear dynamics and wave propagation” which is organized by Hauke Gravenkamp (University of Duisburg-Essen), Alexander Idesmann (Texas Tech University), and Elena Atroshchenko (University of New South Wales Sydney).

Abstracts can be submitted until 15 December 2019 through the conference website:

Contact: Dr. Hauke Gravenkamp

May 2019 Summer School “Wave propagation in complex and microstructured media” in Cargèse (Corsica)

A summer school on the broad topic of “Wave propagation in complex and microstructured media” will be held from 20 to 30 August 2019 in Cargèse (Corsica). Researchers from various fields are invited to study the physical and mathematical aspects of wave propagation phenomena. The summer school is organized by Dr. Agnès Maurel (Institut Langevin, CNRS, ESPCI, Paris) and Dr. Philippe Petitjeans (PMMH, CNRS, ESPCI, Paris). Main topics that will be covered include dynamical homogenization, waveguides, and metamaterials. Within the frame of this summer school, Dr. Hauke Gravenkamp will give two lectures on the topic „Numerical and Semi-Analytical Methods for the Simulation of Guided Waves.“ Information on the program and registration can be found at:


March 2019 COUPLED 2019 – Plenary lecture “Advances in the Scaled Boundary Finite Element Method for Coupled Problems“

The ECCOMAS thematic conference „COUPLED 2019 – VIII International Conference on Coupled Problems in Science and Engineering“ takes place in Sitges (Barcelona) from 3 to 5 June 2019. It is devoted to the presentation and discussion of mathematical models, numerical methods and computational techniques for the solution of multidisciplinary problems in science and engineering. Within the scope of the conference, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Carolin Birk has been invited to give a plenary lecture on „Advances in the Scaled Boundary Finite Element Method for Coupled Problems.”

Registration of participation is possible through the conference website:

January 2019 Academic visitor Dr. Albert Artha Saputra

We welcome Dr. Albert Artha Saputra who is visiting our group from 19.01.2019 to 17.02.2019. Dr Saputra has obtained his PhD from the University of New South Wales (UNSW Australia) in 2015 and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the „Centre for Infrastructure Engineering and Safety“ of UNSW Australia. During his visit he will work jointly with young researchers of the group „Structural Analysis of Plates and Shells“ on the development of the scaled boundary finite element method. His visit thus contributes to strengthening the existing long-standing research collaboration between our group and the University of New South Wales.

On 28.01.2019 Dr. Saputra will give a presentation entitled

„Scaled Boundary Finite Element Method for three-dimensional analyses”

within the scope of the Seminar for Numerical Mathematics and Mechanics (Location: Campus Essen, V15 S04 C57, 4 pm to 5 pm). Interested colleagues, doctoral students and young researchers are cordially invited to attend!

Marina Bay Sands. Ramsey Isler [CC BY 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

January 2019 Minisymposium at „International Conference on Computational Methods (ICCM)”, Singapore

The International Conference on Computational Methods (ICCM) takes place in Singapore from 9 July to 13 July 2019. We are organising a minisymposium on

„Semi-analytical methods: Recent advances and applications“

jointly with colleagues from Australia (Prof. Chongmin Song, Dr. Ean Tat Ooi) and India (Prof. Sundararajan Natarajan). Interested colleagues are cordially invited to contribute. Abstracts can be submitted until 28 February 2019 through the conference website:

Contact: Prof. Carolin Birk, Dr. Hauke Gravenkamp

Figure licenced acording to:

December 2018 Research project „Automatic simulation techniques for 3D wave propagation in geological media“

Wave propagation processes in soil regions must be taken into account when designing critical infrastructure or when modelling wave based geological exploration techniques. Such processes lead to spatial reflection and refraction phenomena, which are often neglected due to the prohibiting effort associated with three-dimensional modelling. The aim of this project is to develop efficient methods for automatic mesh generation and analysis of realistic wave propagation processes in three-dimensional, highly heterogeneous media. To this end, structured meshes will be used that facilitate rapid local refinement. Moreover, the superior convergence of spectral elements will be exploited. Another objective of this project is to model radiation damping correctly and efficiently.

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Project duration: 2019 to 2021

Contact: Prof. Carolin Birk, Dr. Hauke Gravenkamp

November 2018 Minisymposium at „ECCOMAS Young Investigators Conference (YIC)”, Krakow

The ECCOMAS Young Investigators Conference provides excellent opportunities for young researchers to acquire new knowledge in the field of numerical modelling in engineering and science and to establish a network of colleagues and peers, both nationally and internationally. This year, the YIC is held in Krakow from 1-6 September 2019. We invite contributions to the minisymposium on

„Novel theories, formulations, methods and applications in structural mechanics“,

organised by:

Oliver Weeger (Singapore University of Technology)
Wolfgang Dornisch (TU Kaiserslautern)
Bastian Oesterle (Universität Stuttgart)
Hauke Gravenkamp (Universität Duisburg-Essen)

Abstracts can be submitted until 10 February 2019 through the conference website:

Contact: Prof. Carolin Birk, Dr. Hauke Gravenkamp

November 2018 Research project „Computational modelling of multi-physics structural damage“

The prediction and prevention of damage phenomena is a key step of engineering design, monitoring and repair processes. The aim of this research project is to develop efficient modelling and simulations tools for the numerical analysis of multiphysical damage and fracture processes in structures. The development is based on the scaled boundary finite element method (SBFEM), which excels in rigorously modelling stress singularities at crack tips.

This research project is carried out collaboratively with Dr. Ean Tat Ooi, Federation University of Australia. It is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Project duration: 01.01.2019 to 31.12.2020

Contact: Prof. Carolin Birk, Muhammad Danish Iqbal, M.Sc.

July 2018 Research project „ Determination of acoustic material parameters of polymers” in cooperation with Paderborn University

Polymers with complex material properties are often used in measuring systems based on ultrasound. The mechanical and acoustical characterisation of such materials is challenging due to their strongly anisotropic and viscoelastic behaviour. The latter can only be characterised accurately using several temperature- and frequency-dependent parameters. Since these parameters are traditionally obtained from standardised quasi-static tests, they are not applicable in the ultrasonic regime straightforwardly. The aim of this project is to develop a wave-based measurement system for material characterisation of polymers. Here, numerical optimization algorithms will be used in order to determine the acoustic properties of hollow cylindrical samples. In this context, the results of transmission experiments will be compared to the results of guided wave simulation.

This research project is pursued collaboratively with Paderborn University, Measurement Engineering Group (Prof. Bernd Henning) and funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Project duration: 2019 to 2021

Contact: Dr. Hauke Gravenkamp

December 2017 Research project „Numerical modelling of thermally-induced crack propagation“

Rapid temperature changes may induce thermal stresses, which lead to the initiation and acceleration of damage and fracture processes in structures. The aim of this project is to develop efficient simulation methods for the prediction of thermally-induced crack propagation processes. To this end, a global model based on the scaled boundary finite element method is coupled with a local thermoelastic two-field damage model. Another aim of this project is to develop appropriate error estimators in order to reduce the number of degrees of freedom.

This research project is pursued collaboratively with Prof. Christian Meyer, Faculty of Mathematics, Technische Universität Dortmund and Dr. Fleurianne Bertrand, Faculty of Mathematics, Universität Duisburg-Essen. It is funded by Mercator Research Center Ruhr (MERCUR).

Project duration: 01.04.2018 to 30.09.2019

Contact: Prof. Carolin Birk, Dr. César Andrés Polindara López

July 2017 Dr. Hauke Gravenkamp selected as a member of Gobal Young Faculty V

On 14.07.2017 Dr. rer. nat. Hauke Gravenkamp, postdoctoral researcher in the group „Structural Analysis of Plates and Shells“, has been selected as a member of the Global Young Faculty V (2017-2019). The Global Young Faculty is an initiative of Stiftung Mercator in cooperation with the University Alliance Ruhr. The fifth cohort comprises 43 outstanding young researchers and 7 young representatives of regional companies. The initative provides opportunities to network and to collaboratively work in one of five interdisciplinary task groups.

Contact details

Carolin Birk
Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil.

Weststadttürme, WST-A.09.08
Berliner Platz 6-8
45127 Essen
Tel.: +49 (0)201 183 2667
Fax: +49 (0)201 183 3965
Secretary's Office: WST-B.09.07